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Thread: red beech for boat building

  1. #1
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    Sep 2017
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    omaha, ne. usa
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    Default red beech for boat building

    Hello all.
    Does anyone have experience or an opinion on the use of red beech as a material for cold molding a 16' sailboat? I plan on glassing inside and out. I also plan on planking 2 diagonal strips and a final strip layer of mahogany fore and aft. Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Sep 2015
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    Viroqua, Wisconsin
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    Default Re: red beech for boat building

    Itíll work but itís gonna be heavy. Beech is as dense as hard maple, maybe a little more resistant to decay but not by much. My biggest worries (over the weight issue) would be whether itíll resist splitting when staples or other fasteners are driven, and how well whatever glue you use bonds to it.

    Being a hardwood the grainís not as open as traditional boat-building woods.

  3. #3
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    St. Helens, Oregon
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    Default Re: red beech for boat building

    Trade the beech pound-for-pound for some WRC. You'll make a couple of people very happy

  4. #4
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    omaha, ne. usa
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    Default Re: red beech for boat building

    Thanks for the response. I will pass on the beech.

  5. #5
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    omaha, ne. usa
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    Default Re: red beech for boat building

    I live in Nebraska. I want to avoid shipping costs if I can. Going to pass on the beech.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: red beech for boat building

    Your lumber yard that caters to the builders the high end custom homes will very likely have western red cedar in stock. It will probably be planed. 4/4 usually dresses out at a shy 3/4", 5/4 at about 15/16". You should readily he able to find clear 16 footers.
    Steve Martinsen

  7. #7
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    Default Re: red beech for boat building

    Just out of curiosity - What species is this "Red Beech" - Is it the Fagus we in the UK know as "Copper Beech" - or is it one of the Asian/Australian timbers?
    I'd much rather lay in my bunk all freakin day lookin at Youtube videos .

  8. #8
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    Default Re: red beech for boat building

    Quote Originally Posted by P.I. Stazzer-Newt View Post
    Just out of curiosity - What species is this "Red Beech" - Is it the Fagus we in the UK know as "Copper Beech" - or is it one of the Asian/Australian timbers?
    My wood reference indicates it is Notbofagus fusca and native to New Zealand.
    If you don't know where you're going, you might not end up there.-Yogi Berra

  9. #9
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    Default Re: red beech for boat building

    Yeah - I googled it and found three species given "Red Beech" as a coomon name - none of them handy for Omaha.
    I'd much rather lay in my bunk all freakin day lookin at Youtube videos .

  10. #10
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    Default Re: red beech for boat building

    Quote Originally Posted by SMARTINSEN View Post
    Your lumber yard that caters to the builders the high end custom homes will very likely have western red cedar in stock.... You should readily be able to find clear 16 footers.
    That would surprise me.

    I bought some clear S4S WRC 1x10's maybe 40 years ago in a lumber yard in Elgin IL that's been gone for maybe 20 years now. Looked other places but never found any more like it without having to order from a specialty mill like this place in TN.

    When I first read the OP's post I checked his profile, saw Omaha so assumed the beech he'd asked about would be American Beech, grown mostly east of the Mississippi here in the United States. Density's around 43-56 lb/cu ft. compared to Sitka Spruce at ~ 28, various cedars at 30-36 or the maples anywhere from 39-47. Makes great furniture wood and when steamed bends nicely.

    Knowing exactly which species is being discussed makes this kind of information more useful.

  11. #11
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    Mar 2018
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    Southwest Iowa, USA
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    Default Re: red beech for boat building

    I can't help with your beech question, but I was at Liberty Hardwoods (19th & Center - what is that neighborhood, South O? Southeast O?) the other day and asked about WRC. They had some lower quality stuff, but they can special order clear VG for something like $12-13/BF.

    Their office is on the southeast side of the building. Google maps takes you to the warehouse door.

    I believe they mostly cater to cabinetmakers, as they have plenty of plywood. They have an okay selection of hardwoods, too, including white oak, but I believe they topped out at 8/4. Thicker cuts are also special order.

  12. #12
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    santa cruz, ca usa
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    Default Re: red beech for boat building

    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Carter View Post
    My wood reference indicates it is Notbofagus fusca and native to New Zealand.

    When I worked for a boatbuilder in Nelson, New Zealand in the 70's, we used this wood for all the ribs in the 50' carvel plank fish boats that they were building then. Bends very well.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: red beech for boat building

    Quote Originally Posted by joe carpenter View Post
    When I worked for a boatbuilder in Nelson, New Zealand in the 70's, we used this wood for all the ribs in the 50' carvel plank fish boats that they were building then. Bends very well.
    Hmmm... https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nothofagus_fusca

    Seems it’s climate preference is for USDA Zone 8 & warmer so maybe the OP has a source here in the US?

    I’m in 4b, Omaha’s maybe 5b. Nearest edge of 8’s extreme south Oklahoma, south Arkansas & mid-Texas.

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